Thursday, December 17, 2015


At the end of my last post, I mentioned that I was studying Python, a computer language. I've never done anything like it before (although now I come to think of it, learning Arabic was quite as tortuous), so it's tough pounding it into my brain (which is obviously full of incredibly useless useful other stuff...).

Still, headway is being made; I finished the first course, Python for Everybody (even me) - and I'm now on the second of the five-part course - Data. Helping me learn is the Anki app, in their own words:
Anki is a program which makes remembering things easy. Because it's a lot more efficient than traditional study methods, you can either greatly decrease your time spent studying, or greatly increase the amount you learn.
Anyone who needs to remember things in their daily life can benefit from Anki. Since it is content-agnostic and supports images, audio, videos and scientific markup (via LaTeX), the possibilities are endless.
For example:
  • Learning a language
  • Studying for medical and law exams
  • Memorizing people's names and faces
  • Brushing up on geography
  • Mastering long poems
  • Even practising guitar chords!
It's also open source and free. And it works.

Why Python? Why learn to code? Well, you never know what the future holds in store, and my current job could disappear, and as a developer, you can work anywhere in the world. Particularly in France where, when you hit 50, you're considered dead meat, unless you can code. Java programmers are never out of work apparently. I plan to go onto Java once I've got the hang of the more straightforward language Python.

Also, I got a promotional email from Coursera in which a woman who had been in admin retrained as a programmer starting with the Python for Everybody course. If she can do it...

Let's just say that it's a challenge, and definitely keeping me on my toes!

I've been on my toes in more ways than one. Remember I mentioned that I was walking regularly during the week using the WalkActive technique, or as near as one can without going through the training programme? Well, it's taken inches off my waist and I can now get into trousers I was on the point of throwing out. My DB says it's very noticeable, so well done Joanna Hall (the founder).

I could definitely do with walking off work's Christmas lunch! I'm stuffed!! We had it at work and everyone brought something so there were lots of good things to eat including: boeuf bourguignon, lobster bisque tart, quiche, salads, charcuterie, luxury butter, fabulous cheeses, chocolate moelleux cake, chestnut log, buche, clementines, lichis and so on. Ouf.

We are all at work in the family this week. My youngest is doing his work experience at the local opticians' who are parents of a best buddy and very welcoming so he's having a lovely time. My eldest dropped law as being way too boring and with people he didn't get on with, and is now doing a sandwich course in marketing, and working at a local dynamic start-up with people he does appreciate and having a fab time. He's putting into practice all the theory and ideas he learns at college and at his age, having a job is a miracle! France is a rubbish country for jobs for the under 25s and over 50s and the unemployment statistics bear witness to my damning judgement. He got the job by networking - the only way these days, it seems - the CEO is the mother of a good buddy who he's known for years. She told him that he might not have the technical skills yet, but he has the human qualities she wants for her team. Was I proud?

So as the holiday season kicks off, I hope you all have a very merry Christmas, or at least the Christmas which suits you.

And if you need to send some Christmas ecards that are not cheesy, whimsical or nauseating, (and free), I can recommend for cards such as this one:
*Merry Christmas*


  1. I should do that, but I know I would be hopeless at it. My sister interviewed a head-brain guy and he said to keep the mind from dementia and be happy in old age keep learning a language and learn an instrument. Plus you need to have five people you can call on in an emergency
    Happy Holidays - we're off to NZ today

    1. I had no idea whether I could do it either. I did Arts subjects at school and was as surprised as anyone when I passed my maths O'Level.
      I'm still at the early stages but so far I can keep up. It's very satisfying too, when code you wrote actually works. :)

    2. PS Enjoy NZ xx
      Happy Christmas!

    3. Will do. Happy New year to you too Sarah and to the family. And this reminds me my goal has always been to learn Arabic, my sister tried for a while, its quite a melodious language and i spent five months backpacking around those countries in my mid twenties so have some good memories

    4. Good luck with that!! :)

  2. Coding really is the way forward - our schools here are changing the focus of IT lessons to encompass this now. Good for you taking this on and giving your brain a workout! ....And with the walking too, you are going to be fully fit! I need to take note.
    Great news about your boys - delighted your older son has found this new direction is suiting him and doing so well in it. No wonder you are proud.
    Have a fabulous Christmas xxx

  3. Well! I know that I have never required calculus in the last 50 years of my life, your list of things that you can use your new learnt skills are not my priorities, but best wishes to you. Monty Python and an Anki up your sleeve for 2016.

  4. I'm full of awe and admiration, and how sensible for you to be looking to the future. I struggle to make simple HTML changes, the thought of Python and Java make my head spin. I love the way you casually throw in that you learned Arabic. It's a language that has always appealed to me, but I am not sure I could cope with the Arabic iconography, either to learn it or to write it.

    1. Arabic was my degree course, Susie. I can't remember any of it now though although I can more or less still read it.
      Since there'll be no retirement pensions for people my age, I have to find a potential solution for being useful!

  5. I'm so glad that you found that this 'clicked'for're right,we all need more strings to our bows the way things are going.
    Have a lovely Christmas holiday.

    1. Thanks Fly. For some reason I get no notification when you leave a comment so have just seen this.
      Bonne Année to you.


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